With 2015 predicted to be a record breaking year for films, albeit mostly due to the inevitable sweep of box office receipts by the upcoming Star Wars comeback, 2014 may have escaped your eyes as a brilliant year for not just franchise instalments, but original films full of new ideas and superb performances.
As it has taken me the best part of half of 2015 to finally feel like I have mostly caught up with the good-looking films of last year, I thought it would be great to compile my Top 10 Films of 2014. Have to admit there are one or two I still haven’t got around to watching, especially Nightcrawler, which is supposed to be brilliant. I just hope my choices don’t give me away as a Marvel fan boy!
A real puzzler that flew in under the radar and kick-started 2014. Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook are superb as complex characters that drive the story in ways you just don’t see coming. If you like time paradoxes that wind you up and confuse to the point of pushing a HB pencil through your eye, then you will absolutely love this detective-sci-fi mix that leaves you wondering just what you saw. Love it.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In my opinion simply the best marvel film so far outside of Iron Man. More like a spy thriller than a superhero film, Winter Soldier upped the stakes for the unloved superhero and showed us how best to market ol’ cap. As soon as his boot connects with a bad guy and sends him flying through the air, you know you’re in for a improvement on the First Avenger, with the expert pacing, dialogue and action all coming together achingly well. If you still haven’t seen it yet, then get on it.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
It may be a remake of Terminator 2 and have a ludicrous subtitle, but Days of Future Past in fact felt like a combination of all the great aspects of the X-Men franchise and the sort of darkly-funny-sequel vibe we have learnt to enjoy. Taking X-Men to another level again, Singer’s return to the franchise may not deliver the smoothest plot in the world but simply seemed to resonate with many fans, old and new. Plus Quicksilver was awesome, just a shame he was too overpowered to stay in the film.
Edge of Tomorrow
My concerning Cruise bromance aside, Edge of Tomorrow came out of nowhere as one of the best action and sci-fi films seen in years. You would be hard pressed to find someone that didn’t enjoy Cruises’ hilarious transformation from coward to hero, coupled with Blunt’s superb performance as the Full Metal…well you know the rest.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Even though in some ways I was slightly disappointed with the ambition of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I cannot deny how important the film is in terms of paving new ground for CGI and motion capture. Plus it has Gary Oldman shouting a lot, which is always good to watch.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The soundtrack alone is enough to take this quirky entry in the marvel universe into anyone’s Top Ten for 2014. Famous for being full of characters nobody has heard of, Guardians is fun, colourful and full of a great cast and one giant tree-thingy. Not only was it much needed light-refreshment at the time, but Guardians also proved that stick a Marvel logo on, and it will sell, and sell well.
Looking back over David Fincher’s filmography, it is no surprise that his latest film featuring a scarily-ripped Ben Affleck really sent waves through the film world. Rosamond Pike is deliciously messed up as his absent wife and Affleck nails the indifference needed from his character during the investigation. Darkly comic, clever and addictive, if you haven’t got to see it yet, make it next on your list. Just don’t watch it with your mum, probably not a good idea…
It is simply a national travesty how many people have not seen this film yet. Probably the most underrated war movie of the twenty first century, Fury is a visceral, compact and brutal film that covers well-tread battlefields but with a whole new cinematic take. Plus it has some of the sickest tank battles that even leaves Saving Private Ryan’s final moments for dead.
I have watched Nolan’s sci-fi epic at least five more time since I first reviewed it, with each viewing allowing more “brain time” to absorb a previously unexplored avenue or trope that I hadn’t seen before. It isn’t the most water-tight space expedition in terms of story, but the visual and scientific ambition mixes with an emotional vein that runs through the heart of the movie, making it both ground breaking and audience-dividing all at one. The robots were really cool as well, big Tars fan.
Yes yes, it may not be as exciting and “awesome” as the big blockbusters we have all been spoilt with recently, and it is no surprise that Birdman has been pushed to the arty peripheral of mainstream cinemas, albeit with an Oscar as a prize. But Keaton’s mindblowing performance alongside an undeniably talented ensemble of supporting cast makes this one of the stand-out films of the last year. It also very inteligently parodies its own place in cinema through Keaton’s character. Well, that’s what I got out of it anyway…
I hope you enjoyed my Top ten movies of 2014, let me know of any I missed!